§ Mr. Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the amount of(a) fraud and (b) error committed by officials from his Department or its agencies in connection with (i) jobseeker's allowance and (ii) income support in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
§ Mr. Rooker
This is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my right hon. Friend.236W
Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Frank Field, dated 28 February 2000:The Secretary of State has asked me to respond to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what was the amount of (a) fraud and (b) error committed by officials from his Department or its agencies in connection with (i) jobseeker's allowance and (ii) income support in the most recent year for which figures are available.The Benefits Agency (BA) keeps a close eye on Internal Fraud, the Probity and Transformation Section in BA Security is tasked with developing a strong security culture among BA staff.In April 99, approximately 9,000 were employed in paying JSA and approximately 15,000 in paying IS.The following figures relate to (BA) staff for the period April 1998 to March 1999.a) Cases of fraud involving officials
(i) Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) Number of cases 2 Loss to public funds £4,454.85
(ii) Income Support (IS) Number of cases 16 Loss to public funds £426,947.86
Of the cases outlined, nineteen BA officials were involved. Of these, eight were prosecuted resulting in seven being jailed and one fined, a further two were reprimanded and three were dismissed, three resigned before further action could be taken and there was insufficient evidence to take action on the remaining three. This demonstrates our commitment to protecting the system and that staff who abuse their position for personal gain will take the consequences of their action. The member of staff who misused the computer system to create four false claims and embezzle over £100,000 was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
b) Official error
(i) Jobseeker's Allowance Percentage accuracy 88.02 Percentage error 11.98 Monetary value of error: Underpayment £22.16m Overpayment £221.68m Total £243.84m
(ii) Income Support Percentage accuracy 83.4 Percentage error 16.6 Monetary value of error: Underpayment £210.91m Overpayment £425.90m Total £636.81m
Between April 1998 and March 1999 the BA dealt with 2,827,315 claims to JSA paying out £3.5 billion in benefit and dealt with 1,202,792 claims to IS and paid out £12 billion in benefit.
I hope this is helpful.